Friends in writing sessions this week spoke to a person about missing winter and no surprise, for warmer temperatures are both alarming and disorienting. According to a recent study cited byThe Boston Globe, “New England is warming significantly faster than global average temperatures, and that rate is expected to accelerate …” Also, Massachusetts is warming faster than the other Northeastern states.
So it’s not just a matter of mood, memory, or habit. Missing the cocooning beauty of snow is the least of it but there is also that.
We headed out in advance of the plows. To protect my socks and new (warm! comfie!) ankle boots, I made impromptu gaitors. They worked!
Next up: a fleece wrap for Finn. I’m going to cut up a cape I made for the boys back in their Hogwarts years, which is to say: their childhood.
It’s 60 degrees here. Crickets sing their autumnal songs. Hard not to feel blessed, with zero hurricanes coming at us and zero fires raging nearby. The finches are feeding on the echinacea seed heads near the side door. When I come out, they fly off, startled and pretty.
K went to work today for only the second time since March 13. There were 313 Covid cases in Massachusetts yesterday, so I don’t know? Finn understood the change and stayed up in bed with me.
I am adding batting to the single-layer sections of the global warming quilt. Tricky. Fussy in a way that would be avoided if I were a Point-A-to-Point-B creator. Believe me, sometimes I wish I was.
But just look at that amaranth! It is one of the few glorious results of my seed planting efforts this year. Exactly ONE of the dozens of sunflower seeds I planted survived the rabbits.
The huge squash leaves came from a rogue seed that took root when a piece of compost fell into a yard waste bin and took off! I love how surprises arrive in the garden with a casual regularity that defy their miraculous nature.
Speaking of offspring, here’s a lament written during the summer writing retreat.* I can’t remember what the prompt was — maybe something about emptying your mind?
Golden rod tug slightly in a breeze. Higher up, the rustle of maples. And everywhere: insects. Bees and flies and stinging pests. How sweet it’d be to merely lament the season coming to a close and not the earth herself melting, collapsing, churning, with the Ring of Fire activating quakes up and down the coasts on either side of the Pacific. Which one will open up under Brentwood, Pasadena, Korea Town, and Studio City and gobble up great edifices of society not to mention, people: Brother, Son? I could never have been the mother who said, ‘No. Do not go.’ And even if I had been, he’d not have listened which is how it should be, but still — a bigger worry added to the usual worries.
And then there’s the plains of Nebraska, the river banks along the Mississippi, the lower reaches of Missouri — should so much land be under water?
And how can the potential destruction of, say, one American Western city compare to all of Greenland’s ice melting, Paris and London frying under a merciless sun? Or colony collapse, the bees giving up the ghost, along with whole caveloads of bats, unable to fight the poisonous fight any longer, tongues and nails, slab and tourniquet. What place, then after?
When we look at the data, we also look away, preferring to note how a grasshopper landing not five feet away says something about summer ending and the memory of other summers ending — times when bikes, hoses, pools, bare feet were the signifiers. Our poor brood when little watched nature show after nature show offering up news of habitat decline and species extinction and people wonder why millennials are anxious?
We wonder why the young refuse heirlooms of any kind, but especially have no interest in the Rosenthal china, the Royal Doulton, the Strawberry Wedgewood. ‘Will we have a home or air?’ they wonder — the inability to afford the former a trifling but inescapable concern compared to the latter.
‘We have ten years,’ they keep saying, trying and failing to sound the alarm. ‘Ten years’ means something different to the young than it does to my aging ears. Gone are the days when insects present as cute and annoying pests. Not when closer scrutiny might reveal how numbered their days are. How connected they are to everything else.
Even if we all rowed in the same direction, what a monumental challenge! But with lies the prevalent currency and corporations granted all ascendancy, we first have to clean house and by then — I’m sorry, the thought is there — mightn’t it be too late?
How many monarchs migrated to the milkweeds, those perennials standing proud and erect, proper in their heliotropic course, casting lozenge-shaped shadows, offering praise to sun and nourishment to caterpillars? How many? Less than last year? A tenth of the year before?
It’s easy to shrug at the extinction of some two-toed sloth or a miniature lizard with nocturnal habits literally never seeing the light of day, but what about ALL of the passerines? Polar bears and reindeer? What about us? If we’d cared more about the two-toed sloth all those years ago, would we be better situated today — able to enter the “Wild Kingdom” programming, sponsored by Mutual of Omaha and hosted by some hokey and corny know-nothing, instead of learning about floating islands of plastic the size of Delaware and about Colorado burning for half a season?
* It turns out that the response to the prompt mentioned yesterday became a chapter in the book (working title: •Blood and Indigo•). That means I’m precluded from ‘publishing’ here (seriously, with 100 hits a day?) What would happen if I ‘published’ it, left it up for ten days, and then tagged it private? SShhh
This Global Warming quilt is probably four feet long and exhibits the most surface work of all of them.
Visual vocabulary: Orange concentric circles for heat; bamboo to suggest nonnative invasive species taking advantage of climate change; lots of spirals for tornadoes; ferns and palms to hint at enlarged tropics; smokestack shapes “found” in cut up clothing to represent the source of carbon gasses; stripes for both rain and radiating heat.
I have a total of eight finished quilts in the series. There are at least two more unfinished pieced tops — one is flapping on the line outside right now (what a cold windy day it’s been here!) and the other is in the studio, I think.
These last shots are of the back of the four footer.
PS I unexpectedly sold two small quilts off of my FB business page yesterday. How nice is that?
Another snap of cold, waggling branches, and a pewter sky can mean only one thing: MORE SNOW!!! I can take it. Knowing temperatures will rise into the 50’s by week’s end really helps. On Monday, in order to apply some machine-stitching on one of the Global Warming panels, I bundled up. The basement has been very cold this week. Originally, part of the motivation to ‘white-wash’ the surface with quotes of climate change naysayers was speed. As much as I have re-engaged with these panels, I want them done. The cold kept me upstairs, however, and hours of hand quilting ensued. This was starting to have a paralyzing effect. Would I scrawl the machine-stitched words OVER the embroidery floss? Would I RUIN carefully applied textures?! And then there was this recent discussion about Hope (a few posts back). If I accept that it is incumbent upon us as moral and spiritual beings to find a way to HOPE, what was this stitching doing to me? Is it healthy to be spend so much time with the sentiments of people whose destructive idiocy makes my blood boil?! So I really had to get down there and keep going. Some new idea about pairing the bad shit with good stuff is forming… ideas as antidotes or something. What would happen if I scoured the internet for innovations or movers and shakers and reported about them in tandem with these gems from Fox News. Would that at least neutralize the blood-boiling effects of these nay-sayers?